Sylvester’s Dying Bed

S
I woke up this mornin’
’Bout half-past three.
All the womens in town
Was gathered round me.

Sweet gals was a-moanin’,
“Sylvester’s gonna die!”
And a hundred pretty mamas
Bowed their heads to cry.

I woke up little later
’Bout half-past fo’,
The doctor ‘n’ undertaker’s
Both at ma do’.

Black gals was a-beggin’,
“You can’t leave us here!”
Brown-skins cryin’, “Daddy!
Honey! Baby! Don’t go, dear!”

But I felt ma time’s a-comin’,
And I know’d I’s dyin’ fast.
I seed the River Jerden
A-creepin’ muddy past—
But I’s still Sweet Papa ’Vester,
Yes, sir! Long as life do last!

So I hollers, “Com’ere, babies,
Fo’ to love yo’ daddy right!”
And I reaches up to hug ’em—
When the Lawd put out the light.

Then everything was darkness
In a great ... big ... night.
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